A Journey Through Naples and Pompeii With Jill Kraatz

April 29, 2013 — 6 Comments
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On this guest post, travel agent and event planner Jill Kraatz, shows us her way as she, along with her family, takes us on a little journey around Naples and Pompeii, Italy.

Some of my fondest childhood memories include the two hour trips my family would take to New Haven, Connecticut to visit my Italian relatives. For years, I thought lasagna was the only acceptable food to eat at Easter and Christmas. So, when I had the opportunity to take a tour of Italy,  I jumped at the chance! The first Italian city I laid my head in was Naples. The atmosphere and food did not disappoint.

 This was the view from our hotel rooftop.

Naples italy hotel

 

A visit to Naples, Italy is not complete without taking part in two very important things: Experiencing the pizza and visiting Pompeii.

Naples italy Pompeii

 

Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Naples is the third-largest municipality in Italy (behind Rome & Milan), housing just under one million people within the city limits of narrow streets and adventurous (and aggressive) moped drivers.

Naples italy downtown

 

Our first task when we arrived in Naples was to experience the pizza! Typically credited as the birthplace of pizza, there is no shortage of this cuisine. Due to a “pizza law” passed in 2004, it is impossible to find a bad Neapolitan pizza. The law regulates the type of flour, water, tomatoes, salt, and oil which is used. While Americans might laugh at such a law in the U.S., it is one taken very seriously by Neapolitans, and is certainly a law which this American appreciates!

pizza Naples italy

 

Pizza was originated as a meal of the poor in the late 1700s but was quickly accepted and loved by all economic classes. In an effort to work off the pizza, take a stroll to Via San Gregorio Armeno, which is also known as “Nativity Row”.

San Gregorio Armeno Naples italy

 

This narrow street is filled with world-renowned artists, who create nativity scenes and other figures out of terra cotta. It is open year-round and definitely worth a stroll for a couple of hours. Shop owners are very friendly and helpful, and do not attempt to hawk their items and try to get you to visit their shop. In fact, most of them are busy creating figures and will take a break just long enough to either answer questions or ring up your sale. This friendly shop owner safely packed our fragile items. He took an interest in us and then proudly showed us pictures of his children and grandchildren.

shop owner Naples italy

 

After a good sleep, be sure to get up early the next day to grab the train to Pompeii. Located approximately 9 kilometers outside of Naples, and easily accessible by the local train, Pompeii will blow your minds. Pompeii is about 500 yards to the left of this train stop.

Kraatz family train station Pompeii Naples italy

 

While we dragged our kids to various museums, churches, and other historical sites around Italy, I am confident that they will never EVER forget what they saw and learned in Pompeii.

Pompeii italy

 

While Mt. Vesuvius has erupted many times, the most devastating one occurred in A.D. 79. This catastrophic event spewed molten rock and pumice at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second. It paralyzed the residents of Pompeii and Herculaneum, literally stopping people dead in their tracks. This man was praying as the molten rock consumed him.

person praying Pompeii italy

 

One is definitely walking on sacred ground when touring Pompeii. While many people and artifacts have been unearthed, there are still many bodies and treasures waiting to be found. Besides the random areas where archeologists are slowly unearthing more items, Pompeii is a free-for-all historical playground. People are welcome to meander through the ruins of the homes, bath houses, forums, and arenas. Here is a sampling of unearthed treasures at Pompeii.

artifacts Pompeii italy

 

Improved conservation efforts are underway to help this ancient city which has been the unfortunate victim of theft, vandalism, and deterioration.

Hmm…. Unearthing the very first Lego piece?

artifact Pompeii italy

 

 An empty Pompeiian street, waiting to be explored.

street Pompeii italy
Tour guides will line up at the entrance and compete to be your personal tour guide for a fee. We were very happy just exploring at our own pace with the use of an audio headset we rented at the entrance. For an extra special experience, some tour guides will offer to take you by car, up near the summit of Mount Vesuvius. Be sure to research personal tours before arriving. The tour guides can be very pushy and have you believe that your experience will not be one to remember without their assistance. If you choose your own self-guided tour, be sure to give yourself around at least 4 to 5 hours to explore Pompeii without stress.

Nighttime in Naples with Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

night Naples italy

 

We visited Naples in early spring and would definitely consider returning at the same time of year. Temperatures were pretty mild during the day and there were not a lot of crowds. As a bonus, we were able to enjoy some of the Easter treats which the chocolatiers had on display.

easter chocolate Naples italy

Naples is a city rich with history and delicious food. Anyone adding a stop in Naples to their itinerary will NOT be disappointed.

Jill Kraatz is a travel agent and event planner based in San Diego County. Besides helping people create unique itineraries for leisure travel, she helps companies and non-profits create conferences and conventions both in the United States. and internationally. Please visit her blog at:

Proto Planning Travel Agency

You can also keep up with Jill on:

Twitter

 

Thanks so much to Jill Kraatz and family for their inspiring look at Naples and Pompeii. If you would like to write a guest post for Camino My Way, please send me an email for more information: guestpost (at) caminomyway (dot) com.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.




About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.

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6 responses to A Journey Through Naples and Pompeii With Jill Kraatz

  1. Jill,
    What awesome memories for you and your family. Priceless photographs of Naples, it appears to be such a lovely city as you aptly described rich with history and oh sooo yummy looking food… Great stuff!

    • Thanks, Meesh! I hope you have the opportunity to visit Naples & Pompeill someday!!

    • I enjoyed the post too welcome more like these. Thanks Jill for your post and Meesh for visiting again. You’re always welcome here 🙂

    • Thanks for the great pictures of Naples and Pompeii. I would like to do a walking tour starting in Naples, visiting Pompeii and ending in Rome. Is there such a thing available? Is it doable? Love your take on whether this is possible. Claudia

      • Hi Claudia. This was Jill’s post and wasn’t written by be. You can contact her directly through her website above. There may be other resources online. Sorry I couldn’t help. All the best with your travels 🙂

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